Anasazi Inn in Farmington to be demolished; new owners call it a public nuisance
A new, yet-undisclosed project will be built on old motel site
FARMINGTON — The pending demolition of the Anasazi Inn in west Farmington comes as city officials and its new owners believe the run-down motel complex is a blight in the community and contributes to the area's high crime rate.
Albuquerque based TAL Realty Inc. announced on Jan. 21 it acquired the Anasazi Inn at 903 W. Main St. during a judicial foreclosure action. The company described the property as a public health and safety risk.
“This property is not only a public eyesore, but its ongoing operation saps law enforcement resources and puts first responders in harm’s way each day,” TAL Realty’s principal and Farmington resident Adam Trubow said in a press release.
The company said it would demolish the existing structures and prepare the site for future development, but did not identify what the future project is.
The Farmington City Council unanimously voted a couple weeks later on Feb. 9 to approve a $150,000 incentives request to help with the demolition.
The decision followed reports from multiple city agencies, including the Farmington police and fire departments and the Building Inspection Division, regarding numerous issues at the Anasazi Inn — including unsafe conditions and high crime.
City Manager Rob Mayes said the $150,000 the city will spend will be far less than the amount the city will spend responding to calls at the Anasazi Inn if it remains standing.
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In addition, it will prevent the city from facing potential liabilities if something like a fatal fire occurs on the property.
“If nothing’s ever built on that project, we’ve gotten a return on our investment,” Mayes said.
Building Inspector Derrick Childers said the rooms are in poor condition and have had serious roof leaks that have led to water in the basement. Childers added he does not see a way that the buildings could be repaired.
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The motel had 904 calls for service from the Farmington Police Department between Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2020, according to Farmington police data requested by The Daily Times.
Within that five-year period, 158 incident reports were taken, and 115 arrests were made for incidents at the motel.
The motel had its busiest year in 2019 with 257 calls for service, 57 incident reports and 42 arrests, according to police data.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe told The Daily Times there was a lot of police activity at the Anasazi Inn for a business of its size and he personally believed it was a good development that the structure was going to be demolished.
“It was definitely an area of concern for us. Our officers did go there quite a bit and, and more often the crimes were serious and at times violent,” Hebbe said.
TAL Realty Inc. described the business as having been a nuisance to the immediate business area and having “earned a lengthy rap sheet for onsite criminal activity,” according to a press release.
In a Jan. 13, 2010, Daily Times article, former Farmington Police Chief Jim Runnels described the Anasazi Inn as a public nuisance, stating it frequently required police services to manage the bar's drunken patrons.
Runnels made the comments in an article about the Anasazi Inn potentially losing its liquor license after the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department accused the business of serving alcohol to overly intoxicated customers and selling alcohol to minors.
Chief Hebbe believes some of the police activity at the Anasazi Inn could spread to other parts of Farmington.
“Some of it will probably leave Farmington, “Hebbe said. “But some of it will go to other parts of Farmington and we'll track that down and we'll continue to put pressure on that activity.”
TAL Realty Inc. has 120 days to commence demolition of the buildings and is planning to conduct an environmental assessment of the property to look for asbestos and lead paint, which would require remediation prior to demolition.
Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at email@example.com.
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